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Jaguars Sale is First Step to Move to L.A.: Fan’s Opinion
In what I think is the first step towards to move to Los Angeles, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver has agreed to sell the team to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan. I think the move gives Weaver deniability as he was reluctant to the move the team as part of a sale due to his loyalty to the fans. I question that loyalty when those fans weren't selling out the games, which is all a city needs to do to retain its franchise.
Weaver reportedly got about $760 million for team. I'm happy about the deal and think it brings the team one step closer to being able to make a deal to move to Los Angeles, even with the cost of breaking the team's stadium lease. The team is one of the NFL franchises which L.A. stadium developer AEG has confirmed they've had discussions with about moving to the proposed Farmers Field stadium. The Jaguars play in EverBank Stadium, which was built with taxpayer money, with a long-term lease with the team, which expires in 2029.
Although Jacksonville has great, rabid fans who love Team Teal, I think the city is just too small to support an NFL franchise. I think it was an experiment into small markets by the NFL that failed. Even with the greatest fans in the world, the Jacksonville population is just too small to ensure sell-outs, which is what a modern NFL team needs to be successful.
The new owner is a real American success story. Shahid Khan was born in Pakistan and then went to college here and started working at a car and truck bumper company. After ten years of hard work, he was able to buy the company, which is now a major supplier of auto parts for pick-ups and SUVs built in America. Khan seemed to address the issue of a team move in his statement about the sale: "Wayne's legacy will be lasting, and I will always be grateful for Wayne's trust and confidence in my commitment to the Jaguars, the NFL and the people of the Jacksonville community." Regardless of his words, nothing in the deal forces him to keep the team in Jacksonville.
It's not his first try to become an NFL owner, Khan tried to purchase a controlling interest in the St. Louis Rams last year from the family of Georgie Frontiere but was not successful. The Jaguars deal may be done as far as Khan and Weaver are concerned, but the league must still approve it. The owners will have the chance to vote on it December 14 and then the changeover would become effective January 4.
The team has had poor ticket sales, due, I think, in part to the terrible on-field performance and even with a Monday night game coming up against the San Diego Chargers, the team is almost 10,000 tickets short of avoiding a local television blackout.
Although born and raised with Eagles fans in Philadelphia, Freddy Sherman has always been a citizen of Raider Nation at heart. Since his dad got him a signed George Blanda football as child, to meeting Lyle Alzado in the 1980s, he hasn't looked back. Follow him on twitter @thefredsherman
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